To honour the United Arab Emirates’ 42nd National Day celebrations, Construction Week is marking the occasion by highlighting some of the major projects that have shaped and continue to shape the history of the nation. <
Many of these, such as the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Emirates Towers are not only iconic buildings within the country, but have helped to shape its image to the outside world. Moreover, the towers that have sprung up across skylines in Dubai and Abu Dhabi also give an indication as to the pace of the country’s development.
A recently-published report by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat found that in 1995 there were only two buildings in the Middle East with a height above 150m. By 2015, that figure will have reached 289, and two-thirds (192) of these will be in the UAE.
It’s not all about tall buildings, though. Engineering feats such as the world-renowned Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai Metro – the system with the longest driverless train systems in the world – have helped to catapult the reputation of the UAE as a major player on the world stage.
The following pages, however, are not only limited to modern-day projects but also highlight some of those projects that were conceived at the early stages of the UAE’s development, but which have played a major part in its growth, such as Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai International Airport and the Dubai Pearl.
Twenty years ago the Dubai-based business tycoon watched his parents flee the Rwanda genocide having lost everything — again. Today, the company he started to help get his family back on their feet is a monstrous conglomerate in 22 African countries.